Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 in review

I began this blog on January 20th 2010, which was 2 days before my 28th birthday. Ten years ago on this date in the year 2000, I was a senior at Mays High School and awaiting my 18th birthday. My acceptance letters from various colleges were beginning to pour in, and the financial aid chase had begun. I had loved aviation and flying all of my life, and was awaiting the opportunity to persue that dream. Although I had always loved children, I never had any intentions on becoming a school teacher. I wanted to be a pilot and later an astronaut.

Adulthood happened. My inner activist took over as I began to explore the world and community development would become my focus for a great deal of my life. My travels would take me to St. Louis MO, Greenfield MA, Southwest Florida, and then back here to Atlanta GA where I would finally commit myself to becoming an instructor at AYA Educational Institute in 2005.

I love teaching and I am happy that I have committed myself to the profession. But my desire to fly has never gone away. Ten years after I originally committed to becoming a resident of the sky, I renewed that commitment in my first post on this blog:

My current focus is flying ultralights. My most burning interest for the past couple of years is to fly hang gliders. Hang Gliding has been a popular sport since the 1970's and has recently come a long way in its development. Also, the FAA has since created the Sport Pilot rating.

I am back at it this year in 2010 and am determined to make this happen. My goal is to reach the following USHPA Ratings:
  • Hang II certification by spring
  • Hang III certification by Fall

I earned my H2 rating on April 11th 2010. I haven't made it to H3 yet and I am not going to rush it. I had intentions to spend my entire summer at Lookout Mountain, but that didn't pan out. But the summer was not a complete waste, as I joined the Academy of Model Aeronautics and took my modeling skills to another level, and incorporated model aircraft into my science and mathematics pedagogy.

This has been a fascinating year in Commercial Space Travel, where watching the accomplishments of private corporations and backyard astronauts have motivated me to pursue the up and coming commercial space travel industry.

  • Virgin Galactic has completed its construction of SpaceShipTwo. As of this blog, Virgin Galactic has successfully completed a drop test of the Vehicle from the VSS Enterprise. They are making moves to get space tourism underway, so that people can ride their private sub-orbital shuttle just as a person could take an airline flight.

  • Several Model Aircraft builders have sent homebuilt UAV's into near-space altitudes. The Brooklyn, NY based father-son team of Luke and Max Geissbuhler constructed a UAV with a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone. The UAV traveled to an altitude of 19 miles. While this altitude is 41 miles short of the Karman Line (Edge of Space), which is defined by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) as 100 KM (61 mi), it was able to reach an altitude that far exceeded the altitude of passenger jets and was high enough to see the blackness of space and the curvature of the earth that is experienced by astronauts.

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

Despite the difficulties posed by the continuously souring economy, it is an exciting time for an air & space enthusiast to be alive. People are giving it all they have in order to accomplish their dreams.

2011 will build on everything that I have accomplished this year. I will
  1. Continue to work towards becoming a flight instructor for ultralight aircraft... sticking with hang gliders for the time being, and eventually expanding to sailplanes and powered parachutes.
  2. Launch my own near-space UAV
  3. Offer Model Aeronautics educational experiences to Metro Atlanta K-12 students using AMA resources.